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Middle School/Boundary Change FAQs

What residents will be impacted?
Maps of the proposed changes are available at dysart.org/updates. Boundary changes support the creation of middle schools in Dysart.

What if I want my child to attend another school in the district?
Families are welcome to apply for Open Enrollment to any school in the Dysart district at dysart.org/OE

Why are boundary changes being considered?
For middle school boundary changes:
  • To establish elementary, primary and middle school choices for families
  • To provide higher level academic, cultural, and extracurricular opportunities in a middle school environment;;
  • To help students better prepare for transition to high school;

For other boundary changes:
  • To effectively prepare for the incoming and projected growth;
  • To maximize the use of all available facilities;
  • To provide the shortest bus routes possible while balancing academic and program options; and 
  • To better align neighborhoods with schools.

Where can I find maps of the proposed boundary changes?
Maps of the proposed boundary changes are available at dysart.org/updates

How will school start times be impacted? 
Middle schools will have an 8:15 a.m. start time and K-4 schools will begin at 9:00 a.m. Other schools will not likely change start times.

When will these changes take effect?
If the Governing Board approves the boundary changes, the new boundaries would be in effect starting with the 2021-2022 school year. 

How can I share my input on these proposed changes?
Dysart values the input of our community on these proposed changes. Residents are invited to share their comments on an online form by November 18 at 6:00 p.m. after which we will review and share them with the Governing Board. 

In addition, the Dysart Unified School District will hold a public hearing on November 18th at 5:00 p.m. at Dysart Governing Board room, 15802 N Parkview Pl., Surprise, AZ 85374. At this public hearing, attending members of the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board will hear reasons for or against the proposed boundary changes. This meeting will be broadcast live. In-person attendance will be limited due to COVID safety protocols. The public hearing shall not exceed sixty (60) minutes. During the public hearing, proposed school boundary changes, including maps, will be visually presented. Time shall be granted for public comments regarding the proposed changes. Speakers will be limited to three (3) minutes. Note: The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board is enforcing the Governor's Executive Order 2020-43 to limit all public gatherings to fifty (50) people for the Public Hearing, which includes Governing Board members, Administration, presenters and members of the public.

How will bussing be impacted?
Dysart is happy to continue transportation services for students. Bus eligibility for some students may change based on the new boundaries. Bus stops, routes, and times will be made available in July before the beginning of the 21-22 school year. Families will be notified of any changes when routes are completed.

How will walking routes be impacted?
If approved, walking routes and walk boundaries will be adjusted to reflect the new school boundaries. District staff are working alongside local governments to determine safe walking routes and road crossings. 

If my child is transported to a middle school can s/he be dropped off at the elementary school to walk my younger children home?
Logistically, this is currently not an option, but the idea will be revisited in the Spring when there is better data to determine the impact of this option.

What is the plan for those that must now cross Reems Road?
District staff are working alongside local governments to determine safe walking routes and crossings. If it is determined that a safe walking route across Reems Rd. and Cholla is not possible, students would be eligible for bus service. Details will be shared once they are coordinated.

El Mirage Elementary School has never had busses before. Will they have busses now?
Yes, K-4 El Mirage Elementary students living farther than one radial mile from the school will be eligible for transportation.

Will transportation be provided for Middle School students at the impacted schools? 
Middle School students living further than 1.25 radial miles from school will be provided transportation (subject to normal eligibility/boundary requirements). As there is currently no traffic light or safe crossing of Reems Rd. , Sonoran Heights Middle School students are expected to be bussed if they would have to cross Reems Rd.

How does this impact SPED services for special needs students?
Exceptional Student Services (ESS) services will continue to be offered at all campuses. ESS students currently attending specialized programs at a school that has grade level changes, would attend the ESS program at the school that will host their grade level, with their same-aged peers. Most students in specialized programs impacted by a boundary change not due to grade level adjustments will have the option to remain in the current program at their current campus, or to transfer to the program at their new boundary school. 

What about the STC program at Luke?
STC programs will remain where they are currently offered, including Luke Elementary School.

What campus will the PBS program be on?
If approved, the PBS program at Countryside Elementary will continue for K-4 students and the grade 5-8 program would be located at Ashton Ranch Middle School.

What about athletics?
Athletics will still be offered at the 7-8 grade levels for K-8 schools and at the newly established middle schools.

How much will the middle school change cost?
Costs are extremely minimal since we are using existing facilities and existing staff. 

What was the process for making the decisions regarding middle schools and locations?
Community input was a primary driver. For several years the community has asked for a middle school model. Dysart administration took this feedback, along with direction from the Governing Board, into consideration. The proposed plan provides for one middle school for each high school attendance boundary in our district. 

Parents value school choice. Middle schools give families more educational choices so that they can select the option that best fits their needs. Because some families prefer a K-8 model, many schools will continue serving K-8 students. Open enrollment allows families to choose the school and structure that best fits your needs. 

Was parent and community input sought during the process?
Yes. Middle schools were initially pursued because of parent and community interest.  A virtual meeting was held in April to share details and a proposed timeline and process. Afterwards, a committee was formed to begin establishing the framework.

What are the benefits of middle schools versus K-8 schools?
The middle school model allows Dysart to provide unique academic, elective and extracurricular opportunities for 5-8 grade students. Middle schools can better prepare students for the high school experience. Students attending Dysart middle schools will be able to select from several elective class options, and study a foreign language. Students will also have opportunities to earn high school credit, giving them a head start when they begin high school.

Will electives be offered at middle schools?
Yes, electives will be offered at the middle schools. The exact electives are still being determined but will include Career and Technical Education (CTE) introductory courses as well as PE, art, music and band.  Additionally, a Spanish course will be included in each student’s schedule.

Will Den’s Club be offered on all campuses?
Before and after care opportunities will continue to be offered at all campuses. At middle school campuses, the program will be reinvented to better serve and appeal to our 5-8 grade students.

What will happen to the Innovation Academy at Western Peaks?
The Innovation Academy would no longer be an enrollment option for the 2021-2022 school year. While the Innovation Academy has been a great option for the last five years, if approved, the middle school model will provide students with many new opportunities and benefits that will enhance the overall learning experience.

Will Preschool still be offered?
Preschool will be available at all 16 elementary and primary schools within the district, but not at the middle schools. Students currently attending preschool at a school that will be transitioning to a middle school will transfer to the paired K-4 school. Please be sure to visit the Preschool website for information regarding the Early Learning Programs for your child.  You may also contact your local elementary school in order to register your child for preschool. If you wish to enroll your child in the Growing Minds Preschool Program, please contact the Community Education Department.

How will Open Enrollment be impacted if an approved open enrollment student must change schools based on grade?
Students currently on “approved open enrollment” status will automatically be placed into their new school assignment (based on the middle/primary school pairings) as “approved open enrollment,” along with the rest of their classmates.

Example: A 2nd grader currently on approved open enrollment to Ashton Ranch Elementary School will not be able to attend 3rd grade at Ashton Ranch Middle School next year. This student will be placed at Countryside Elementary School (K-4) for 2021-2022 along with the rest of her/his classmates and grademates. Naturally, that student can choose to apply for open enrollment at another school of their choice, or attend their home boundary school instead.

Why is the Luke boundary changing again?
The changes to the Luke boundaries will help to effectively position the district for the incoming and projected growth, to provide the shortest bus routes possible, and to better align neighborhoods with schools. One of the changes impacts a primarily industrial area, and the other is a neighborhood that is much closer in proximity to Riverview School, so it will better align with the local neighborhood school.

How will staffing be impacted?
Where possible, current PreK - 4th grade teachers currently working at proposed middle schools will move to the paired K-4 school site and current 5-8 grade teachers at proposed K-4 sites will move to the paired 5-8 middle school.

What plans are in place to deal with increased traffic at these schools?
The proposed changes are not expected to significantly change traffic volume or enrollment. DUSD staff are working closely with the City of Surprise and El Mirage to determine safe walking routes, loading patterns, and bus routing to provide safe and efficient travel. Student safety is our top priority.

Will the new middle schools get new names?
If approved, the middle school names will change to indicate “Middle School” rather than “Elementary School”, but the rest of the name would remain the same.

Will CTE classes be offered and expanded at the middle school level with the proposed changes?
The exact electives are still being determined but will include Career and Technical Education (CTE) introductory courses along with other options.

Will the older kids in STC be going to the middle schools also? 
Yes, our STC and PBS specialized program students would follow the same grade splits and so 5th-8th grades would be at middle schools.

Will developmental preschool children be able to stay at their current school even if subject to a boundary change? 
We want to continue consistency as much as possible and would look at the individual sites and students to determine any movement of our students in developmental preschool.

Will bussing be offered for students that will be moving from Sonoran Heights to the new elementary school?
District staff are working alongside local governments to determine safe walking routes and crossings. If it is determined that a safe walking route across Reems Rd. and Cholla is not possible, students would be eligible for bus service. Details will be shared once they are coordinated.

In the event capacity is reached mid-year, will satellite sites occur or the use of portables? 
It is highly unlikely that any school will reach capacity during the school year since our staff monitor enrollment, capacities, and forecasts carefully. Dysart is prepared to welcome all students. 

Our district continues to grow at a rapid pace, will Dysart be adding schools in the next 5 years? If so will they be middle and elementary? 
Dysart class sizes are set by many factors outside of growth. We are monitoring growth trends and have identified areas of need for community schools, and are working with the Board to address the significant incoming future growth. DUSD is forecasted to need additional high school capacity in the next seven years, and is working with AZ School Facilities Board to address a possible 5th high school location.

Will high school boundaries be changed? 
There are currently not any high school boundary changes being proposed. DUSD staff will continue to monitor high school boundaries based on growth patterns and ideal feeder patterns to determine if changes are needed in the future.

Will there be a crossing guard stationed at Bullard / Waddell? Cotton lane for the kids going to Cimarron? Reems and Sarival?
District staff are working alongside local governments to determine safe walking routes and crossings. 

Will the current grade-level teachers retain their positions, and simply move to the new site, or will they reinterview for the positions with the new administration? Will any Dysart staff lose their positions as a result of the changes? 
Dysart will retain the teachers at the new sites and Dysart staff will not lose jobs in the district as a result of including middle schools.

If athletics are going to be competing around the valley, will transportation be provided to those games? 
Yes, Transportation will be provided for out of the district games.

Will Track and Field be offered at the middle school level? 
Yes, Track and Field will be offered at the Middle Schools if approved.

Will middle school offer gifted programs? 
We would work on course offerings to meet the needs of the students at the middle schools.

Are AP (Advanced Placement) programs currently offered to 8th graders? If not, will they be in a middle school model? 
AP courses are typically offered at the high school level. However, advanced course offerings will be available for students in the middle schools which will allow them to successfully transition to AP courses in high school.

Why grades 5-8 as opposed to 6-8 for middle schools? 
The 5-8 model allows for an appropriate balance between the primary and middle schools.  The format of fifth grade will be slightly different as students transition to a different schedule in sixth grade and a full middle school schedule in 7-8 grade.

Will class size be impacted by these changes? 
Not at this time.

With athletics, will the K-8 middle school kids have a chance to compete with middle schools in-district?
Yes, and with other out-of-district middle schools. K-8 schools will continue to compete in-district only.

Will 3rd and 4th grades be able to compete in Cross Country? 
Yes, third and fourth grades students would have the option to compete in Cross Country

Will the established middle schools align to the high school signature and athletic programs? 
The plan includes working to provide an established feeder program from each middle school to their corresponding high school.  This includes athletic programs and electives that provide students an opportunity to explore interests prior to high school.

Will the paired K-4 and 5-8 schools support each other in academic endeavors like plays and projects? 
Each school will be its own individual school; however, if the schools have an opportunity to work together, it could be possible.

Would all schools be following suit in the future or will you keep some K-8? 
The school configuration would remain the same until a fifth high school is built in Dysart in the future.  At that time, we may look to add a feeder middle school to the new high school.

What is happening at the Innovation Academy at Western Peaks?
The program will be closed; staff are looking forward to the unique and dynamic programs that Middle School will provide.